|Jul 28, 2011 --
Outline of Need:
Yvette Valdez and her four children were homeless leaving Las Vegas a few years ago. She had to leave in a hurry only taking her children and what she could fit in the back of her pickup. She headed to Roosevelt, Utah where she had a sister living. She was hoping to live with her sister, but those plans failed through.
How Rural Development Helped:
A few days later she stopped by the Uintah Basin Association of Governments for some assistance. Luckily, there was an opening in their Transitional Housing Program. Ms. Valdez was grateful for the temporary fix, but wanted a permanent home for her children.
She immediately found a job and enrolled in school. It was then that she was told about the USDA Rural Development Self Help Housing Program. She wasn’t sure she could do it all, but decided to give it a try. Last year while working, attending school and raising four children she took on the challenge of building her own home through the program.
Recently, Yvette and her children moved into their brand new home. At the same time she graduated from Uintah Basin Applied Technology College with a degree in the medical field.
“Building my own home was the hardest thing to do. We were building through the winter. I think one time it was minus 24 degrees and we were working out in the snow, but it’s a good program. You have to put 30 hours of labor each week. You are building with ten families and as houses go up, you are just working on everything. It’s a community effort. Now I have a home and to think, not too long ago I was homeless. Never lose hope, never. Life is not easy; you have to work at it. Now I am only looking forward. My kids are better for it; my kids are wonderful,” said Ms. Valdez.
In May, 2011, Ms. Valdez was the recipient of the Sergeant Shriver Achievement Award from Utah Community Action. Her story has been sent for national recognition and competition. “She is a true inspiration to us all,” stated Joan Mortensen, UBAG Housing Specialist.